The Jackson County Legislature officially now wants the state to help with the county's property assessment quandary – a move its chairperson says is necessary but “embarrassing.”
Legislators on Monday unanimously passed a resolution that asks the Missouri State Tax Commission to step in and “take all action needed to remedy issues related to the 2019 Jackson County reassessment.” Specifically, the resolution points to state law saying an increase of 15 percent or more can only come after a physical inspection of the property.
In many cases, Theresa Galvin, R-Lee’s Summit, said, “We don't feel that has been done.”
“Looking at pictures is not a physical evaluation. The whole assessment needs to be done how it's supposed to be done.
“This is kind of embarrassing that we had to do this,” she said during Monday's Legislature meeting at the Eastern Jackson County Courthouse in Independence.
The county makes new assessments every two years. The ones mailed out in June surprised and even stunned many property owners, with increases in some cases as high as 400 percent. Citizens at Legislature and BOE meeting in recent weeks have made emphatic and often emotional pleas about their fears that higher taxes could force them out of their homes or businesses. Of nearly 300,000 properties in the county, about 22,000 have filed to have the Assessment Department look again at their cases.
State law allows the State Tax Commission to have general supervision over all state assessing officers and county boards of equalization, as well as appeals.
“This supports the (Board of Equalization),” Galvin said of the tax commission resolution. “The BOE has started having (appeal) hearings.”
The Board of Equalization earlier this month extended the deadline to Monday to file for an informal appeal with the county's Assessment Department.
The BOE last week delayed action on a proposed cap on property assessment increases, saying it needs more information. The board's next scheduled meeting is Aug. 7. The proposal from non-voting member Preston Smith is to:
• Cap parcels raised by more than 200 percent at 14 percent.
• Cap parcels up 100 to 200 percent at 13 percent.
• Cap parcels up 12 to 100 percent at 12 percent.
• Leave those up less than 12 percent where they are.
County Executive Frank White's office has publicly opposed the plan, saying it would lead to other inequalities and that it's “full of legal issues and undermines the Board’s state-mandated duty to ensure properties are assessed at their true market value.”